New drugs strategy for England focuses on recovery not abstinence

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 14 December 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c7168
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

The new drugs strategy for England stops short of the abstinence based policy demanded by some on the Tory right but instead focuses on recovery.

The Conservative Party manifesto had criticised existing treatment programmes, saying that too many people received methadone that maintained their habit. Some on the right of the party had called for cuts in benefits for drug users who refuse treatment. But the new coalition strategy has shied away from taking such a hard line approach.

Launching the strategy, the public health minister, Anne Milton, said: “Recovery is at the heart of our new approach. As set out in our white paper, the system will be locally owned and led by directors of public health and local government. We will work with individuals and their families to offer them a clear route out of dependence.”

The strategy’s emphasis on recovery is along the same lines as the Scottish drugs strategy launched in 2007 and …

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